Iraqi officers land in Syria, stir Israeli concern

Iraq switching sides to the Iranian-Syrian-Russian axis is now official:

 

Israeli security chiefs were gravely concerned Wednesday, May 17, when they learned that a high-ranking Iraqi military delegation had arrived in Damascus, the first in decades during which the Iraqi and Syrian ruling regimes were at odds, for a discussion on the situation unfolding on the Syrian-Iraqi border – in particular the Al-Tanf crossing.

DEBKAfile’s military sources reported on May 15 and May 16 on the potential for a clash of arms over this strategic crossing, which is situated at the intersection of the Jordanian, Iraq, and Syrian borders and commands the No.1 Route linking Baghdad with Damascus and the Jordanian capital of Amman. Continue reading

US, UK, Jordanian forces enter S. Syria

 

US special forces, together with British and Jordanian elite troops, moved into southern Syria late Sunday, May 14. They were acting to counter the Syrian-Iranian scheme to nullify the American plan for posting Jordanian forces in southeastern Syria, which timed for the days before US President Donald Trump’s trip to the Middle East.

The US-led armored force with British and Jordanian units crossed from northern Jordan through the Tanf Border-Crossing between the Hashemite Kingdom, Iraq and Syria, and took up positions capable of consolidating their control of the main road between Palmyra and Baghdad. Some of their moves were coordinated with Israel. Continue reading

Fiercely resistant ISIS seizes two Iraqi cities

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US soldiers were Monday ordered to use gas masks after ISIS poured oil on a sulfur mine 70km south of Mosul that continues to burn near the US and Iraqi military center at Qayyarah.One obstacle after another – often unforeseen – is slowing the coalition’s advance on Mosul – as debkafile was the first publication to reveal last week. It is becoming obvious that ISIS is following a plan to circle around Mosul in a wide radius and pouncing on important spots for diversionary attacks:

Last week, they overran Kirkuk; this week, Sinjar and Rutba. Continue reading

The big Mosul offensive is stuck, halted by ISIS

Less than a day after its launch, the big Mosul offensive prepared for more than a year by the US, the Iraqi army, Kurdish forces and others, ground to a halt Tuesday Oct. 17, debkafile’s military sources report – although none of the parties admitted as much.  Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi said his troops were busy opening up corridors for some million civilians to escape, while US sources suggested that the Islamic State would use primitive chemical weapons against the advancing Iraqi and Kurdish forces.

Both had the ring of cover stories to account for the spearhead forces, the Iraq army’s 9th Armored Division and the Federal Police special anti-terror units, being thrown back Tuesday on their way to Mosul from the east and the south, while still 10-15km short of the city. They sustained heavy losses in lives and hardware.

The 9th Division and its newly-supplied heavy US Abrahams tanks were stopped at al-Hamdaniyah outside Mosul and retreated, recalling a previous defeat at ISIS hands in June 2014, when troops of the same division fled under Islamist attack, leaving their tanks behind. Continue reading

Iran heavily involved in Iraqi power struggle

Iran has a good deal of influence on Iraq. As Tehran turns its back on Nouri al-Maliki, his days as Iraqi prime minister are numbered

There was a time when Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was assured of the Iranian government’s support. In 2006, Tehran rubber-stamped his first election as premier. The Shiite Iraqi leader could also count on help from his Shiite neighbor in the fight against Sunni extremists. But now, Tehran is moving away from a prime minister who rejects national reconciliation, thus fueling the conflicts in Iraq. Continue reading